Siftings on French Toast

ShrinkWrapped: Short Takes

Dr. Sanity ……calls this world war what it is: It is barbarians versus civilization

This seems to be the consensus of a number of online psych ‘pro’s, and some others. But I take issue with this subjective and biased view. Who says “they” are Barbarians and by what standard…. and when we say we are fighting for our civilization, are we all on the same page in our connotations? Do we all hold the same definition of what our own “Civilization” consists of?

I just don’t buy the idea. Islam produces a type of civilization, and it has a long history to look at. When we say “our civilization” are we so homogenous as all that? I have submitted previously that I believe our Civitas- the basic premises our civilization in this nation works from- is increasingly divided into two contrary sectors, the secular and the Christian-based. To which does Shrinkwrapped, et al, refer? Or is it all collapsed down for ease of reference, and simplicity of point?

I do think that we are viewing a clash of civilizations with very different premises and outcomes, but I also see that we have had that on the Christian/Secular front as well.

I would further submit the idea that it is the weakening within from such internecine warfare within the West that has left “our civilization” so vulnerable and threatened.

It isn’t all the Muslim’s fault that the West is shaken.
I take issue with the term “Barbarian” and its throwback to the Roman Empire; but then again… there are those pesky similarities.

Dalrymple had used that terminology in his post, which I thought was excellent and linked, but his usage seems to denote the immigrants within French society, whereas Dr.Sanity’s quote seemed to extrapolate it far beyond, as Shrinkwrapped called it a ‘world war’.

Dalrymple said this:City Journal Autumn 2002 | The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris by Theodore Dalrymple

“Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size, Paris especially. In these housing projects lives an immigrant population numbering several million, from North and West Africa mostly, along with their French-born descendants”.

This reduces the scope and the context of the term “Barbarians” to more closely reflect the analogy of the Roman Empire condition referenced.

I would just like to caution us against crossing the line to demeaning and then, vilifying. Accuracy in thinking is probably the best antidote…. sound byte call to arms tend to be less than accurate.

That’s all I’m sayin’ on this for now.

“We must fully commit to the game and deploy all our assets to win, or we will lose by default.”

Um, yes…but what is missing is the admission that we are not at this point agreed upon what we defend and what we move to win. That is why it is so easy to say, “We have seen our own media and the media around the world become the Knights for our enemy and flank some of our forces”. Have the media and such actually joined “the Dark side”? Is it really all thiat simple?

The trouble with all this is that the chessboard is very black and white, and we have chosen in this society to make gradations of gray. We fear the black and white unless it is clearly to our advantage to call it so.

In some books that might be written as “hypocrisy”. We are a double minded nation at this juncture, which is bad enough, but we are perilously close to playing ourselves into the false mask for the sake of taking our points in the game.

We are in more than a game, and we have need of defining and expressing just what the stakes are in the battle. We are in this for keeps. What good to obliterate the whole of Islam, if it were possible, only to be swept into the abyss of immoral and demeaned existance ourselves. And we have plenty of those seeds still extant and unaddressed in our nation…in our culture. Don’t pretend it ain’t so.

But chess games are rarely the “final” game. There is always the next one, and the next tournament. It is the odds on the finality that we ought to look at. I think that means looking to the divide within, and dealing with that.


There are those who have lined up Frances choices, and surmise that they will not hold the line on their abstract ideals of equality, what is termed their officially ‘colorblind’ policy. I personally think, within their system, that their ‘colorblind’ stance is admirable. Probably not workable, but admirable. It is consistant with their secular system to refuse to recognize favors on the basis of race, etc. There are those in this country who recognize the problems with that route.

It is more egalitarian to remain “France’s policy is to treat all its people as citizens, with no consideration of their color, creed, or race that could undermine national unity. The republic does not recognize ethnic differences;” The trouble with it is that human beings find their ways to seek categorical identification. Unfortunately that lends itself to prejudice and often, injustice.

So, yes, there will efforts to change it, or tweak it, whatever the degree of adjustment …. but that isn’t going to make the problems go away.

One of the things I find interesting in the present French situation is that it appears that the youth of immigrant extraction are in flux. They could -at this point, it seems- trend either toward a traditional Islamic culture or toward a decidedly Western one. Right now it seems weighted to the Islamic side, but not assuredly so.

I think the question that the West has to decide is what exactly do we offer as a culture? I think that means we will have to honestly analyze how much of our virtues remain in our society, or whether we are running on fumes?

Many modern Christians, myself included, have viewed the fading morality of our larger culture as evidence that we have simply run on the fumes: the old remains of the vigorous Reformation form and freedom. That our secular and materialist based society will become more morally empty, and inherently weak, as it wins the battles against the influences of the Christian religion.

Isn’t that the commentary often used? That modern France is a vacuum, devoid of the substance of its ideals and promises?

We ought not be deceived by the blithe assumption that we are necessarily the civilized. We once were, with high ideals and moral virtue. We have a ways to go to choose, again, that more civil society.